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New Wars on Old Battlefields: Disputes in Later Seventeenth-Century Brigstock, Northamptonshire

The research team behind Civil War Petitions have been very lucky with all the help and assistance that we have received from the staff of archives and record offices across England and Wales. We are indebted to their knowledge and expertise , which has helped us to identify all the relevant documents and shed new light on the local contexts in which our petitions were written. We are delighted to introduce this guest blog from Andrew North of Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Service. As he reveals here in the fascinating case of Giles Blaston of Brigstock in Northamptonshire, there is often more to our petitions than meets the eye... At the end of the old calendar year in March 1660, John Whiston, intruding minister in the Northamptonshire village of Brigstock, signed-off the preceding year’s sequence of baptism records in the parish register. Brigstock was a populous parish in Rockingham Forest, and Whiston was soon recording the new year’s baptisms in his small, neat handwriting. But the records in his hand break off after an entry of 16 May 1660, and the hand of Francis Lewys, who had been ejected as Brigstock’s vicar in 1655, has added the word ‘pretended’ under Whiston’s signature.  Signing-off the second half of 1660’s baptisms in March 1661, Lewys made his point again, writing ‘repossessed’ beneath his own name: the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion was clearly going to take some time to make its mark in this community. Lewys’s attempt to set the record straight did not draw a line under the conflict of religious and political views in the community of Brigstock. According to the petition of Giles Blaston, a labourer there, the enmities of the 1640s were still alive and very much kicking four decades later. When Blaston petitioned the county Quarter Sessions in October 1682, the leading point of his claim for assistance was that he was still suffering ‘hardship by oppressions put upon me by divers of my neighbours in Oliver’s days well known to be of the then Godly party’. Blaston emphasised how he continued to counter the ‘persuasions and affronts of my enemies’ with his ongoing loyalty; he was ‘still [my emphasis] ready with the hazard of my life to serve the king’. Blaston also employed the more formulaic claims conventionally made by petitioners. He had suffered wounds and hardships, was elderly, poor, and had a wife to support. With a neat argumentative twist, these commonplace complaints of petitioners were cited as the reason Blaston would ‘become a scorn to my old enemies’, who, he claimed, ‘still live and flourish’. Was this just too neat? Could the animosities of the wars have lingered so potently for so long in Brigstock, or was the petitioner overplaying his hand? Like all such petitioners, Blaston sought to maximise the grounds of his claim; but he could not risk alienating the presiding justices by making statements that could not be supported. Moreover, twenty prominent parishioners, his ‘loyal neighbours’, were ready to certify that his statements were ‘very just and true’.  In part, it might have been the recent turmoil of the Exclusion Crisis that had stirred up Brigstock’s ‘Godly party’; but there is much evidence that old enmities had indeed also been kept on the boil at a local level. In 1676, Civil War tensions in the neighbourhood had been invoked during a legal dispute over an area of ground called Weldon Plain, rights over which were also claimed by Brigstock’s adjoining parish of Weldon. Contesting the case were Thomas Barton (c.1620-1705), the head of a leading gentry family in Brigstock, and Christopher Lord Hatton (1632-1706), lord of Weldon manor.  During the wars, Barton had captained a troop of horse in Sir Gervase Lucas’s ‘Belvoir Cormorants’; he subsequently seems to have acted as a royalist agent, being kept under surveillance during the Rule of the Major-Generals. Hatton’s father, also Christopher (1605-1670), spent the period ‘enforced to retire into parts beyond the seas…for the preservation of his person from the fury of the…usurpers to continue until the happy restoration of his Majesty’. He is described elsewhere in the legal case papers as ‘a person of great loyalty which through the persecutions of the times caused him to contract great debts and encumbrances upon his estate’. Ostensibly, the land dispute then pitched a staunchly royalist member of the gentry against an equally committed royalist family from the nobility; but the Hatton side called attention to the family’s loyalty in order to build a case that accused Captain Barton’s father, also named Thomas (c.1594-1658), claiming he had ‘illegally obtained in [the] times of rebellion’ a verdict on the use of the plain in a fraudulent court action. In opposition to the royalism of both the Hattons and his own son, the elder Barton was recorded as ‘being a person of that time of great interest with the then usurpers and one who managed the affairs of the then Lord Monson, one of the regicides and murtherers of his…late Majesty’. The language of both Giles Blaston’s petition and the legal case papers share many of the same formulaic expressions – as coercive as they are vacuous – for loyalty to the Crown. Blaston had ‘never deserted his late or now Majesty’s interest’, just as the elder Lord Hatton had displayed ‘constant adhesion to his late Majesty, King Charles the first of glorious memory’. Blaston did not write his own petition and may also have had help shaping its terms. Yet his labouring-class status had not excluded him from the approved Restoration discourse about the wars, or from the idea of artfully manipulating their memory. When he came to make his petition, he had already heard these standard forms articulated and used before justices to promote a personal claim. The 1676 court case had needed witnesses, drawing them from across the local community’s social spectrum; the Hatton side alone called over twenty deponents, one of whom was Giles Blaston. Personal, parochial and political conflict were then deeply interwoven in post-Restoration Brigstock. Both Hatton and Blaston were opportunistically exploiting memories of the Wars in order to press their immediate personal concerns. But, in turn, the fighting of new private wars on old battlefields stoked up the wider community’s memory of past ideological division, reigniting Civil War enmities – and Brigstock’s history of volatility meant it was ready to catch fire again. Weapons had been drawn back in 1631, when Thomas Barton senior, armed with a ‘large pikestaff and a sword’, led over forty of his fellows from Brigstock, together with some of their wives, in a riotous response to some of Lord Hatton’s men from Weldon who had attempted to cut timber on a disputed area claimed by both villages. The same Barton tried to pasture his sheep on Weldon Plain in 1634, and the dispute flared again as Hatton’s men impounded them. In 1637 Barton and his wife encouraged their neighbours not to pay Ship Money, reacting aggressively when the constable came to distrain. Having ‘great power in the late times of usurpation’, Barton senior was in the ascendancy after Naseby and working as ‘bailiff and agent’ for William, Lord Monson. In 1648 he ‘contrived’ the ‘illegal verdict’ in the fraudulent court action against the exiled Hatton to win common rights on Weldon Plain. A defeated cavalier, Thomas Barton junior was treated as a ‘royalist suspect’ during the Interregnum. His time of ascendancy came after the Restoration, which was preceded by his father’s death in 1658, when he inherited the main family estate. The younger Thomas Barton belonged to the ranks of ‘crafty lawyers’ and used all his legal tricks to expand this estate by acquiring more land, antagonising the neighbourhood in the process. His neighbours accused him of misappropriating charitable property and of demolishing Brigstock’s school house. Legal cases with Captain Barton at their centre multiplied, the court papers characterising him as ‘so contentious…and troublesome and vexatious that he seeks the ruin and destruction of many of the poor inhabitants of Brigstock to enrich himself thereby.’ Like his father, Barton could exploit the Civil Wars for his own ends, claiming that ‘in the late times of rebellion the [school] house was in decay and some of the agents of the usurped powers sitting in [it] broke it down’. Barton’s words frame the Wars in terms of usurpation, the same characterisation of the time employed against his father. Once again, these disputes required witnesses, drawing in significant numbers of the local population and reminding them of the profound political discord they had experienced. Captain Barton’s notoriety continued to escalate. By the early-1670s, he had been found in contempt of the county Quarter Sessions and indicted as a common barrator[1] at Northampton Assizes; but he received a warrant for a pardon ‘in consideration of his faithful services to the late and present kings’. He was even put on trial for his life, apparently facing an accusation of murder. The details of this case remain obscure, as do the reasons he managed to avoid conviction – perhaps again he was able to trade on his wartime service to the monarchy. Not surprisingly, Barton’s disputatious activities, so many of which were rooted in, and which constantly invoked, the experience of the Civil Wars, were on everyone’s lips and provoking further controversy. On a market day in the small town of Oundle in the autumn of 1672, Edward Barton, brother of the captain, pulled off the wig of Richard Wormelayton of Brigstock, struck him and ‘knocked his head against the wall’ following ‘some discourse concerning Captain Barton’. But Edward Barton’s defence of his brother’s reputation couldn’t contain the gossip: around the same time, Lord Hatton’s steward was writing to his master at Castle Cornet, Guernsey, where he was governor, about how Barton ‘appears so odious to the country’.[2] Captain Thomas Barton then appears to have thoroughly lived up to the reputation for predatory aggression that had earned his wartime regiment the nickname of ‘Cormorants’. His service with the regiment at Belvoir Castle is recorded in the petition he wrote in support of John Bearsley of Aldwincle, a neighbouring parish of Brigstock. Barton stated that Bearsley was a ‘faithful and valiant soldier’ and ‘truly loyal’, who had ‘never deserted his Majesty’s or his blessed father’s service’. Intriguingly, however, Barton is conspicuously absent from those who were willing to sign their name in supporting  the same expressions of loyalty in Giles Blaston’s petition, despite the fact that he must have been well aware of the royalist veteran in his own village. In fact, the leading signatory on Blaston’s petition was the captain’s youngest brother, Robert, who was a prosperous farmer and a rather less confrontational member of the family. Had the captain continued to hold a grudge against Blaston for standing as a witness against him in the 1676 legal case, or was the labourer one of those ‘poor inhabitants of Brigstock’ who had been exploited by Barton? It would be no surprise if such personal grievances cut across parochial and political loyalties in this way: the mood in post-Restoration Brigstock was a febrile one, with the ruptures of war continuing to be refracted through a multifaceted prism of local tensions. Regardless of whether he was ventriloquizing the words of his petition’s scribe, Blaston’s extraordinary conclusion catches the fractured and suspicious mood of his community perfectly: were he to be granted financial relief and a pension, he said, his ‘enemies’ would be ‘daunted’ and ‘all other good subjects be thereby encouraged to serve and honour their king and to abhor and detest treason and rebellion as the sin of witchcraft.’ On this view, the rebellion against the king had also been a rebellion against God, a deviant transgression that had brought enduring conflict to Blaston’s village. Lewys, the restored clergyman, had similarly tried to characterise the wartime experience as false and abnormal with his comment ‘pretended’. But the search for a labels that would enable the war to be personally memorialised as aberrant trickery were no more successful than the official state policy of amnesia in coming to terms with the experience. Captain Thomas Barton saw things differently. The wars had probably been the most intense and exciting time of his life; and, having survived both the siege at Belvoir Castle and state surveillance, after 1660 he was able to play out fully the role of resurgent cavalier by dominating life in Brigstock. Significantly, he retained the honorific ‘Captain’ for the rest of his days, and was still being discussed in letters a generation after his death. Perhaps, too, Brigstock lived up to the reputation of forest villages for disorder. It had been an unruly place even before the Civil Wars, which inflected existing tensions and provoked new ones – its wounds were deeper and more difficult to remedy than those of Giles Blaston, whose petition won him a pension of three pounds a year. [1] One who stirs up vexatious legal cases and quarrels [2] ‘Country’ here signifies a neighbourhood centred on a market town   Sources   Northamptonshire Record Office Finch Hatton collection: FH 715; FH 1150; FH 1151; FH 3520; FH V6318/8 Quarter Sessions: QSR1/63/60; QSR1/68/63; QSR1/107; QS minute book 1668-1678 Brigstock parish collection: 48P/1; 48P/84 British Library Additional Manuscripts: Add. MS 34014; Add. MS 19516 Parliamentary Archives Main Papers: HL/PO/JO/10/4 Secondary Sources Calendar of State Papers Domestic Charles II 13 Dec 1672 p. 275 Appleby, D.J., ‘”The traitor in our own hearts”: representations of loyalty and animosity in the Restoration archives’ – unpublished conference paper

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‘Civil War, Memory and Authority’: A Conference Blogpost

The sun shone down from a cloudless blue sky on the morning of 4 July 2019 as delegates from a score of British universities assembled in Oxford to attend the project’s midway conference, entitled ‘Civil War, Memory and Authority in England, 1642-1700’.  Co-organised by two members of the project team - Professor Mark Stoyle and Dr Lloyd Bowen - the event was designed to bring together some of the key scholars who are currently investigating the ways in which the mid-seventeenth-century conflict was remembered after the guns had fallen silent. Here, Mark Stoyle reports on the events of the conference... Having made our final dispositions over breakfast, Lloyd, my wife, Lynn, and I made our way to the conference venue: the Quaker Meeting House in St Giles, which - with its beautiful gardens and general air of calm and serenity - is, without doubt, one of the most perfect places in the country for a group of scholars to come together to engage in fruitful, yet relaxed, intellectual discussion. Once arrived at the venue, we scattered to our respective posts: Lloyd to carry out a last check on the PowerPoints and the IT; Lynn to prepare to welcome the invitees and provide them with their conference packs as they streamed through the door; and me to liaise with our hosts, Jacqui and Deb, as we finalised all of the arrangements for the day’s events. At 9.00am precisely our first guests began to arrive, and a cheerful crowd of historians - including our PI, Professor Andy Hopper, and the other two members of the project team, Dr David Appleby and Dr Ismini Pells - was soon assembled on the main lawn: enjoying not only the coffee and tea, but also one another’s company and the general ambience. Refreshed, we took up our places in the Meeting House itself - a high-ceilinged, oak-lined room, with splendid views of the gardens on either side - and prepared to turn our thoughts back from the summer of 2019 to the much darker summer of 1642, to the bloody civil war which ensued and to the enduring legacies of that conflict. Lloyd and I kicked off the proceedings with a few introductory remarks in which we welcomed everyone to the conference and sketched out our plans for the day. I noted, in passing, that I’d been working on the memory of the Civil Wars for almost a quarter of a century, and that I could never have imagined, when I first began to research what then seemed a very recherché topic, that I would one day be co-hosting an entire conference devoted to that same subject. Lloyd went on to explain why we had decided to entitle the conference ‘Civil War Memory and Authority’, rather than ‘Civil War, Memory and Welfare’ - which is, of course, the title of our broader project. He noted that we’d taken this decision, partly to underscore the fact that this event would possess a distinct identity in its own right, but chiefly because we were keen to explore the specific theme of how memories of war and concepts of authority had interacted during the decades after 1642.  Our own two papers, Lloyd added, would demonstrate how wartime memories were deliberately deployed, repurposed and sometimes bent entirely out of shape in order to augment or reduce the authority of specific individuals in the post-war world. He concluded by noting that we hoped that sidelights upon this same theme might emerge from some of our fellow-speakers’ papers, too - while stressing, of course, they had been given free-rein to interpret the conference themes just as seemed most appropriate to them! With the preliminaries out of the way, Lloyd then introduced the first of our key-note speakers, Professor Ann Hughes of Keele, who delivered a wonderfully fresh and thought-provoking paper entitled ‘When the Scotts Army did March Thorow our County: Transformations of Space and Place in the English Revolution’. In this talk, Ann explored how the events of the 1640s and 1650s had not only altered the physical environments in which many people lived - through the extensive destruction of property, for example - but had also irrevocably altered the ways in which they saw the world around them, as specific locations which had once possessed merely mundane, diurnal associations now became haunted by dark memories of robbery, violence and death. The members of the project team were delighted to note that Ann used Nottinghamshire maimed soldiers’ petitions which David had recently transcribed and uploaded to the ‘Civil War, Memory and Welfare’ website to illustrate some of her specific points: for example, the fact that the phrase ‘the Trent Bridges’ had come to be understood, in retrospect, not just as the name of a familiar crossing-place, but also as the name of a site of especially bitter conflict during the Civil War. Ann’s paper was then beautifully complemented by that of our second speaker, Dr Imogen Peck of the University of Warwick, who addressed us on the subject of ‘Civilian Accounts of the British Wars, 1642-60’. In a deeply-researched and elegantly-crafted paper, Imogen explored the neglected subject of how civilians had petitioned for redress in the wake of the conflict, considering, along the way, such topics as the specific language which the petitioners had deployed, the types of suffering and injury for which they had sought compensation and the ways in which the phraseology of the petitions submitted by male and female sufferers had differed. After a short break for refreshment, we reassembled to hear talks delivered by our second panel of speakers: both of them members of the project-team.  I began by introducing Dr Ismini Pells - our project manager at the University of Leicester - who gave a sparkling paper entitled ‘From Revolutionary Bulwark to Stuart Loyalists: The Restoration Re-fashioning of the London Artillery Company, 1660-1668’. Drawing on her deep knowledge of the records relating to seventeenth-century London in general, and to the Artillery Company in particular, Ismini revealed how the company - a body which had played a central part in the Parliamentarian war effort during the 1640s and which had counted no fewer than six of the regicides among its members during the 1650s - had been re-fashioned after 1660 to serve as a vital prop of monarchy. It was a fascinating and highly revealing discussion - and one which left many members of the audience feeling that they had hitherto failed to appreciate the key role which the company had played in England’s seventeenth-century troubles. Ismini was followed by Lloyd whose paper - in a pun which will be fully intelligible only to those who are familiar both with the oeuvre of the 1980s electro-group New Order and with  the history of the Civil War in Wales - was entitled ‘Poyer, Corruption and Lies: Shaping the Recent Past in Civil War Pembrokeshire’. In this brilliant and absorbing talk - which drew on a series of contemporary printed pamphlets, some of which have never been cited before - Lloyd demonstrated how, in a battle over the memory of the recent past, the Parliamentarian commander John Poyer saw his wartime record denigrated during the mid-1640s by a group of ‘ambodexters’, or turn-coat Royalists, who managed to persuade the regime in London that it was they, rather than Poyer, who were its true friends. As Lloyd went on to show, the consequences for Poyer - who was eventually provoked into open revolt by this manifest injustice - proved fatal; he was executed by firing-squad in 1649. With the morning’s papers at an end, we now fanned out into the garden to chat in the sunshine, to relax in the deck-chairs which had been set out in the shade of the marquees and to enjoy the excellent lunch which had been laid on for us by our caterers: ‘Waste2Taste’, an Oxford-based firm whose mission is to reduce food-waste by using high quality surplus food. We reconvened at 2.00 for our second key-note paper, which was delivered by Professor John Walter of the University of Essex, and entitled ‘Remember 41! Popular Violence and Political Memory’. In a masterly address - one which ranged widely over space and time and which was illustrated by many vivid examples - John explored why it was the year 1641 - rather than, say, the year 1646, when the Royalists were defeated, or the year 1649, when Charles I was executed - which was looked back on after the Restoration as the highpoint of ‘fanatical’ enthusiasm and popular rage. Above all, John argued, it was the fact that there had not been ‘such a perceived lack of respect for order and authority in England’ since the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 as there had been in 1641 which had caused ‘Remember 41!’ to become such a potent rallying cry for conservatively-minded English folk as they anticipated fresh social and political turmoil during the 1670s. John was followed by Dr Charlotte Young, of Royal Holloway, whose paper was entitled ‘I Faithfully Served His Majestie to the End of those Infortunate Warres: Presenting Royalism in Sequestration Papers, 1643-1661’. In her fascinating - and often very amusing talk - Charlotte compared and contrasted the ways in which those who had been accused of supporting Charles I during the Civil War, first, after 1646, did all they could to play down the extent of their wartime Royalism in their petitions to the Parliament to compound, and, then, after 1660, did all they could to play up their wartime Royalism in an attempt to persuade Charles II to compensate them for their losses during and after the war. The last two talks were delivered by me, and by my friend and colleague from the University of Southampton, Dr Alice Hunt. In a subtle, allusive paper entitled ‘Ceremony and Memory: Charles II’s Coronation 1661’, Alice showed how memories of the 1640s and 1650s had whispered around the splendid coronation ceremony which was staged for Charles II in 1661, and how - like spectres at the feast - the un-laid ghosts of the Civil War and Interregnum had quietly, but insistently, served to undermine the show of unity and unconstrained majesty for which the king and his ministers were striving. I then followed Alice with my own talk, entitled, ‘Extreme Trials of Fidelity? Captain Bartholomew Gidley and Royalist Memories of the Civil War’. This paper reconstructed the life and career of a Royalist officer who had served in the ‘Tinners’ regiment raised from the Dartmoor Stannaries during the Civil War, and explored how his wartime exploits had been memorialised in a series of post-Restoration sources: including a unique silver medal, an ornate funerary stone and a clutch of petitions for relief which had been submitted by former Royalist soldiers who had served under his command. These petitions will, in due course, be made available for all to consult on the project website. The conference then came to an end with some valedictory words from me and Lloyd, and a kind vote of thanks from Andy, before we all repaired to the Royal Oak pub nearby: thoughts of Boscobel flitting appropriately through our minds as we settled down to enjoy a post-conference drink. All in all, it was a wonderfully stimulating - and convivial - day, and Lloyd and I are enormously grateful to everyone who joined us on 4 July: above all, of course, to our inspirational speakers. We were especially glad to welcome Dr Ed Legon and Dr Erin Peters - both of whom have recently published important monographs on the ways in which the Civil Wars were commemorated and remembered in post-1660 England - and Professor Mark Cornwall, who is one of the greatest authorities on the memory of a still more terrible conflict: the First World War. Finally, we were delighted to be joined by our project mentor, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, and by many of our fantastic project volunteers, without whom we could never have got as far as we have. Our sincere thanks go to one and all.  

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The Parents of Wounded and Fallen Soldiers: Two Case Studies from Warwickshire

Our last blog looked at the impact that a soldier's injuries might have on his wife and their ability to provide for their children. However, when soldiers were wounded or slain, it was not just the welfare of their wives, widows, children and orphans that were placed in jeopardy. Andrew Hopper here demonstrates how sometimes the livelihoods of parents of soldiers also suffered damaging consequences. Two petitions to the parliamentarian County Committee for Warwickshire seated at Coventry reflect the impact the human costs of civil war could have on the aged parents of casualties. The second of these petitions also throws more light on a little known engagement typical of the incessant garrison warfare that played out in the west midland counties. Our first petition came from Paul Spooner who had served as a foot soldier for three years in the garrison at Warwick Castle under Colonel Bridges. He petitioned the County Committee on 16 December 1646 that he had been ‘wounded unrecoverably’ in Parliament’s service, leaving him ‘utterly unable to stand or any way to get one penny to help himself’. He was disbanded and sent home to live with his widowed mother, in her ‘poor cottage house which standeth upon the waste’ in the hamlet of Nuthurst, 3 miles north of Henley-in-Arden. Spooner’s petition was very unusual for three reasons. Firstly, at 438 words long it was much longer than most petitions from rank and file soldiers. Secondly, it was very rare in acknowledging the income of a female relative. To show the magistrates how destitute Spooner was, the petition set out that his mother only earned 2 pence a day from spinning, a hopelessly small sum to maintain them both. Thirdly, Spooner related why his neighbours were unable to provide him poor relief; the hamlet consisted of just 2 freeholders and 4 copyholders, who were already burdened with 7 poor cottagers in receipt of alms. Spooner had petitioned the justices at the Michaelmas sessions at Warwick without success, so in order that Spooner ‘perish not for want of relief’, his neighbour Edward Wood took another petition for Spooner to the County Committee at Coventry instead. The petition reminded the Committee of their duty to relieve Spooner ‘according to ordinance and decree of parliament in that case provided’. Spooner boldly requested a monthly allowance for the rest of his life, but in mitigation dolefully added that ‘in respect of his incurable wounds and great weakness’ that was not likely to last long. The petition was successful in that the County Committee ordered their treasurer to send 30 shillings to Spooner, a sum that would have taken his widowed mother 6 months to earn from spinning. Our second petition also reminds us that parents could be dependents on their sons. It came from George Harthill, a labourer of Atherstone in north Warwickshire. His petition lamented that he had lost three sons in Parliament’s service. It requested that the County Committee settle on him the sum of £10 from the arrears of pay owed to one of them, Nicholas Harthill, a trooper under Captain Thomas Hunt. In March 1644, Hunt’s troop appears to have been sent in addition to 110 foot from Coventry to aid Colonel John Fox’s attempt to relieve the parliamentary garrison recently planted at Stourton Castle, near Stourbridge in Staffordshire. A detachment of Worcester’s royalist garrison led by Sir Gilbert Gerard met Fox’s relief force on Stourbridge Heath on 27 March. Nicknaming him ‘Tinker Fox’ in derision of his origins as a Walsall metalworker, the royalist newsbook Mercurius Aulicus gloated how Fox’s ‘unworthy trayne’ were never going to stand against a royalist force composed of ‘Voluntiers and Gentlemen of Quality’. Aulicus related that the ‘first running Rebell was the Joviall Tinker himself’, and that his men were so ‘piteously bang’d’ across the heath that 64 were killed in a pursuit that lasted 3 miles. We now know that among those who fell was Nicholas Harthill, whose father’s moving petition ended by asserting that Nicholas’s arrears would help relieve Nicholas’s aged mother and remaining siblings. The Coventry committeemen, headed by Colonel William Purefoy, who had sent Hunt’s troop into the doomed engagement at Stourton, agreed to settle on Harthill a month’s worth of his son’s pay arrears. With troopers usually paid at 2 shillings 6 pence per day, this likely amounted to around £3 and 15 shillings, some way short of half of what the bereaved father had requested. The fate of Harthill’s wounded comrades taken prisoner at Stourbridge Heath contributed to the worsening of relations between Colonel Fox and his commander, Basil Feilding, Earl of Denbigh. Fox complained to Denbigh for preventing him from exchanging a royalist gentleman captive for those captured at Stourbridge: ‘there is great case to be made of him for the exchange of ours in prison’, who ‘would think it strange that other prisoners should be released by him and they lie for want of exchanges, which he will solve of many, especially they being wounded men and stand in need of present enlargement.’ This underlines how the urgent need to arrange exchanges for those wounded in enemy custody whose very survival was at stake became a pressing matter of conscience for commanders. This made such prisoners highly relevant to the war efforts of both sides. Fox’s brother in law, Captain Humphrey Tudman, was among Stourton Castle’s garrison when it surrendered after Fox’s defeat on Stourbridge Heath. Aulicus scorned that ‘Colonel Tinker’s brother in law’ was ‘unworthy the charge of a guard’, and so was disarmed and released. After having commanded President Bradshaw’s guard during the trial of Charles I, John Fox was described in the Council of State’s proceedings of October 1650 as ‘ready to starve’. In great debt, he died soon after. Fox left two sons, John and Humphrey, in the care of their uncle, Captain Tudman. In 1653 Tudman warned Parliament’s Committee of Compounding that now he was left ‘without hope of his arrears’, if he was not relieved he would turn the orphans onto the streets to beg, shaming them that ‘the Commonwealths enemies’ would ‘say in reproach and especially in the county where his service was so eminent “these are the children of Colonel Fox.”’ Sources and Further Reading The National Archives, SP28/248/II, fol. 173 (the petition of Paul Spooner, 16 December 1646). The National Archives, SP28/248/I, fol. 38 (the petition of George Harthill, 26 October 1648). The National Archives, State Papers 23/85, fol. 414. British Library, Thomason Tracts E.42[26], Mercurius Aulicus, 13th week (Oxford, 1644), p. 908. Andrew Hopper, ‘“Tinker” Fox and the politics of garrison warfare in the West Midlands, 1643–50’, Midland History, 24 (1999), p. 108.    

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Old Wives’ Tales: Long-term Medical Care during the English Civil Wars

One of the main objectives of Civil War Petitions is to gain a better understanding of what kind of medical care was available to wounded soldiers during the Civil Wars. The petitions and certificates reveal the names of medical practitioners that have hitherto remained obscure, as well as provide an insight into the types and quality of the procedures they performed. However, as Ismini Pells explains, medical care during the Civil Wars was not just a matter for professional practitioners... In January 1688, Robert Ashorst of Marsh Baldon submitted a petition to the Oxfordshire Quarter Sessions together with his wife. Although Robert failed to name his wife, their petition is unusual as an example of a petition for military relief in that it was submitted equally by husband and wife. Robert noted that he was ‘above four score [80] years old & his wife above three score & ten [70]’ and that they were ‘both very lame & helpless’. The couple had previously attempted to secure some parish relief on the basis of Robert’s military service, though the inhabitants refused to accept his story. Robert claimed that he had fought in all three kingdoms and could produce the witnesses to prove it. He had allegedly been impressed for service in the Bishops’ Wars against Scotland under Sir Jacob Astley, and afterwards volunteered for service in putting down the rebellion in Ireland, before going on to fight for the royalist cause in the Civil Wars in England. Whilst in the king’s service he ‘receiv’d so many shots & bruises as together with his old age have render’d him not able to do any thing’. Although Ashorst’s petition was unusual in being submitted jointly with his wife, it draws attention to the all-too common problems which must have been faced by many military wives during the Civil Wars. As the medical historian Roy Porter was at pains to stress, ‘a great deal of healing in the past (as, of course, in the present) has involved professional practitioners only marginally, or not at all, and has been primarily a tale of medical self-help, or community care’.[1] Indeed, very few of the petitions collected by the Civil War Petitions project so far make any reference to treatment by medical practitioners. Moreover, the vast majority of these cases emanate from soldiers not yet or only recently disbanded. This suggests that although many of the veterans might have received some form of treatment from regimental medical staff in the immediate aftermath of their wounding, the responsibility for their long-term care largely rested with their family. We know from the petitions of widows whose husbands had survived the initial impact of their wounding or disease that the responsibility for longer-term care for a soldier often rested with his family, typically his wife. For example, Margaret Beavis told the Essex Quarter Sessions in 1653 that her husband John, a soldier in the Commonwealth’s service, had contracted some sort of illness whilst fighting under Captain Burrell and had eventually died ‘after hee hath long lyen sick at greate charges insoe much your poore petitioner is much impoverished thereby’. In Leicester, Katherine Palmer informed the borough corporation that during his imprisonment following the sack of Leicester by the king’s forces in 1645, her husband Abraham (who had participated in the defence of the town) ‘tooke the cause of a disease which within lesse then a yeare did neare him to death by a lingering sicknesse did spend all that your petitioner could anie waies procure’. Of course, sometimes wives sought professional medical help in caring for their husbands. Elizabeth Newum told the Nottinghamshire County Committee that whilst caring for her husband Nathaniel before his death, she had racked up fees of more than £4 with the surgeon and apothecary. The practitioners were now hounding her for the money, which she had no idea how to pay ‘unless I bee forct to sell up all that I have and soe I and my poor infant shall bee forced to beg’. However, wives will have taken on much of the day-to-day care of wounded veterans themselves. In the seventeenth century, what was it like to look after someone who had lost a limb or suffered from limited mobility, was blind, suffered from disease or was in pain? Few petitioners describe their day-to-day care regime, but we can assume that wounded veterans would have required assistance in performing their daily functions. One rather harrowing account from the West Riding of Yorkshire sheds light on the daily realities of caring for veterans who suffered from potential psychological problems as a result of the Civil Wars. A petition of Elizabeth, her surname illegible but probably the wife of Edward Bradley of Horbury, seems to suggest that her husband was troubled that ‘he should be soe sleighted for his great losses and imprisonments'. Elizabeth described how the family dared not venture abroad ‘but is forst to have one to look after him’, as her husband was prone to putting himself in danger whilst wandering at large. Elizabeth, who was loathe to admit it publicly, could not look after her husband because, in her word, ‘I have beene lame a {missing word} while myselfe and had my breast cut of w[hi]ch hath disinable me much to doe that {missing word}formerly I had done for him’. As Elizabeth’s petition demonstrates, when wives were unable to care for their husbands themselves, the money required for paid help could put strains on limited family finances. Nevertheless, using a family member as a carer also had an impact on the household income by restricting the time available to the carer for paid employment. A few veterans, like Ashorst, explained how their wife’s own lack of physical health prevented them from taking on work to compensate for his inability to provide for his family. Interestingly, however, not one petition from a wounded soldier collected so far mentions the impact that caring for them had on their wife’s ability to carry out paid work. This resonates with Alexandra Shepard’s work on witnesses in church court cases, where she discovered that male witnesses consistently ignored or downplayed the contribution made by their wives towards their household income.[2] Thus, without the insight provided by the petitions from war widows or from women like Elizabeth, it would be far too easy to overlook the daily responsibilities performed by wives in caring for wounded veterans. As more work emerges on the capabilities and innovations of professional practitioners during the Civil Wars, we must be careful not to lose sight of the equally important – if no doubt at times mundane and laborious – contribution made by these women to medical care in the Civil Wars. [1] Roy Porter, ‘The Patient’s View: Doing Medical History From Below’, Theory and Society, 14:2 (1985), p. 175. [2] A. Shepard, Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 226-30.

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The Civil Wars and the Wider World

The Civil Wars were a multi-national and multi-ethnic conflict. The fact that the violence was exported to places such as America and the Caribbean demonstrates that the wars were not confined to the British Isles. In this blog, David Appleby gives a sneak preview of some of the petitions, certificates and other documents which are currently being prepared for inclusion in our online database – documents which illustrate the fact that the human cost of the conflict was felt by people far beyond the British Isles. For various reasons, this project is focused on injuries and bereavements arising from the civil wars fought in England and Wales, and various uprisings in those countries, between 1642 and 1660. However, these struggles were never exclusively ‘English’, even in England. A previous blog drew attention to the Scots who were wounded in England, and subsequently given medical care and financial aid by local English authorities. Many Scots served in royalist and parliamentarian armies in England, and in 1644 the Scottish Covenanters sent a large army over the border to aid their (then) parliamentarian allies. A particularly controversial addition to Charles I’s forces were soldiers from Ireland. Despite vitriolic parliamentarian propaganda (and the King’s negotiations with the Irish Confederacy for a loan of some 10,000 Catholic troops) most of the soldiers who came from Ireland to bolster the royalist armies were English Protestants who had originally been sent there in 1641-2 to repress the Catholic uprising. Parliament, for its part, had amongst its officer corps Irish Protestant commanders such as Dublin-born Colonel Michael Jones. More surprisingly, Micheal Ó Siochrú has found that in the 1650s the New Model Army became so critically short of manpower during its campaign in Ireland that it not only welcomed ex-royalists into the ranks, but even recruited Gaelic Catholics. Further afield, various individuals returned from the American colonies to fight in the Civil Wars, and there are records of soldiers coming from all over Europe, and also North Africa and the Middle East. Just as the British Civil Wars sucked in people from outside the British Isles, so documents currently being prepared for our database will illustrate how the conflict had consequences across the globe. References to the Caribbean are beginning to crop up on a regular basis. By the time of the Civil Wars, large numbers of people were needed to work the tobacco and cotton plantations of English North America, particularly Virginia and Maryland, and also the increasingly profitable (but notoriously unhealthy) sugar plantations in the Caribbean. At this time the trade in African slaves was in its infancy, so before the Civil Wars plantation workers were more likely to be English and Irish men and women who had voluntarily sold themselves to plantation owners for a period of between five and seven years. Middlemen and ship owners made lucrative profits from the trade in ‘indentured servants’ – so much so that the more unscrupulous entrepreneurs began to kidnap people off the street, and transported them to Barbados against their will. In the seventeenth century the term ‘Barbadoed’ meant much the same thing as the term ‘Shanghaied’ would in the nineteenth century. Many of these kidnap victims were children, and the kidnappers became known as ‘spirits’ (hence the term ‘spirited away’). In 1645 Parliament passed an Ordinance against kidnapping, and over the ensuing years apprehended several ships engaged in the nefarious trade. Convicted criminals were also transported to the plantations in America and the Caribbean, although this practice was not technically legal, as it contravened the precept of habeas corpus. However, the pre-war authorities usually got around this technicality by getting the criminals to agree to indentured servitude in order to escape a death sentence. During the Civil Wars, both sides were faced with the problem of accommodating thousands of prisoners-of-war. Parliament used its dominance of the sea lanes to solve the problem by transporting thousands of Irish, English, and Scottish prisoners to Barbados between 1641 and 1655. The climate, poor diet and a variety of diseases ensured that a large proportion of these prisoners would never return. However, some did. Andrew Heywood petitioned Devon justices in 1686, declaring that he had refused to change sides after being captured by Parliament, and, as a result, ‘finding the petitioner still resolved not to quit his loyalty, tho hee lost his liberty, they, in a barbarous manner, sold the petitioner as a slave into a certaine Island called Nevus [Nevis, in the West Indies].’ Several royalist officers fled to their families’ plantations in Barbados following Charles I’s capitulation in 1646. In 1650, enraged by the King’s execution, and bolstered by defectors from the parliamentarian cause, the royalists seized power in Barbados, and declared for Charles II. The new English Commonwealth could not afford to tolerate such defiance (or the loss of revenue), and immediately began work on plans to retake the island. Sir George Ayscue was given command of the fleet which set out for the Caribbean in August 1651. Between November and December 1651, Ayscue attempted to take the island by amphibious assaults, supplementing his force with volunteers from some 170 Scots prisoners-of-war recently arrived from the battle of Worcester. Eventually Ayscue and some exiled Barbadian merchants secretly persuaded a royalist commander and plantation owner Thomas Modyford (a cousin of George Monck) to bring his regiment over to Parliament. Having established a foothold, Ayscue forced the remaining royalists to surrender the island in January 1652. With Barbados once more under its control, the Commonwealth was free to transport further shipments of prisoners. Apart from prisoners taken during the ongoing war in Ireland, many royalists were sent to the Caribbean following the abortive risings in Western England in 1655. Two Hampshire survivors of the so-called ‘Salisbury Rising’, Edward Penton and Robert Browne, obtained money from the Restoration authorities in recognition of the hardships suffered during their captivity on Barbados. A certificate supplied for Thomas Bates of Northamptonshire, written by George Monck, Duke of Albemarle in 1668, is more difficult to interpret. Albemarle states that Bates had lost a leg in Barbados serving in the regiment of Sir Tobias Bridge ‘in the late wars’. Colonel Bridge was an ex-parliamentarian who, like Albemarle, had aided Charles II’s restoration. He had been entrusted with a regimental command in Barbados in 1666. However, the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665-67 was virtually over by the time Bridge took up his Caribbean command, and Albemarle’s certificate predates the Colonel’s retaking of Tobago during the Third Anglo-Dutch War by some years. In most of the petitions unearthed by our project the term ‘the late wars’ invariably refers to the Civil Wars; all of which opens up the intriguing possibility that the certificate might reveal an attempt on Albemarle’s part to secure money for an ex-parliamentarian veteran of the 1652 campaign. Certainly, in 1661 John Merrington of Halstead, Essex, had been given a gratuity on the basis that he had served ‘under the Duke of Albemarle’ (whereas in reality he had served in Monck’s regiment in the New Model Army). The same was true of Nathaniel Lingard and John Allen in Lincolnshire, and possibly several others. The Civil Wars had other consequences for the Caribbean. One of the problems facing Oliver Cromwell on becoming England’s ruler in 1653 was how to employ the New Model Army. In 1655, goaded by the activity of royalist privateers, and seeking economic supremacy over England’s traditional foe, Catholic Spain, the Lord Protector sent General Robert Venables and Admiral William Penn with troops to capture Hispaniola. The attack was farcically mismanaged, and easily repulsed. Nevertheless, Venables and Penn did manage to capture Jamaica. It was in Jamaica where Elizabeth Pitman’s soldier husband died, as she was later to explain to Northamptonshire justices. Following the Restoration of 1660, Charles II’s regime managed to raise sufficient money to pay off and disband many of the regiments of Cromwell’s ‘Old Army’. However, there was insufficient money to disband the entire army. One solution was provided by the King’s marriage settlement with Portugal in 1662. Some 4,500 men (mainly superfluous ex-parliamentarians, but also many ex-royalists and Irish Catholics) were sent to Portugal as auxiliaries in that country’s war of independence against Spain. By 1668 only 800 were still alive, and some 400 of these were sent to Tangier. Tangier had been given to Charles II as part of the dowry of his bride, Catherine of Braganza. The North African port was garrisoned by around 2,500 troops, again, most of them unwanted veterans of the Civil Wars. Past differences were put to one side as former enemies fought for their lives against almost daily onslaughts from Moorish forces. Mortality was high, and few survived to tell the tale. One who did was John Paine: Northamptonshire justices noted in 1665 that Paine had been shipped home, having received ‘severall desperate wounds, whereby he is disenabled to labor for his living.’ The veteran – who was very lucky to be alive – received a gratuity of forty shillings, and the promise that his case would be reviewed at the next quarter sessions. Another item in the dowry of Catherine of Braganza was the Portuguese possession of Bombay. In 1665, some 500 ex-Cromwellian veterans were sent to India under the command of an ex-royalist officer, Sir Abraham Shipman. Over three hundred of these unfortunate men were dead within a year (which was largely the object of the exercise). It is not yet known how many of the remaining 200 returned, if any did. However, the fact that some men had survived terrible conditions in places such as Barbados, Nevis and Tangier, and were able to return to England to petition their local authorities, gives reason to hope that one or two of these early ‘Indian Army’ veterans may yet surface in the county archives.   Suggestions for further reading (in order of events): Mark Stoyle, Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War (2005). Carla Pestana, The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution 1640-1661 (2007) David J. Appleby, ‘“God forbid it should come to that: the feud between Colonel Guy Molesworth and Major-General O’Brien in Portugal, 1662”’, The Seventeenth Century, 26/2 (2011), pp. 346-67. David J. Appleby, ‘Veteran politics in Restoration England 1660-1670’, The Seventeenth Century, 28/3 (2013), pp. 323-42 John Childs, ‘The English Brigade in Portugal 1662-1668’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 215 (Autumn 1975), pp. 135-47 Jonathan Riley, The Last Ironsides: the English Expedition to Portugal, 1662-1668 (2017) Jack Smithers, The Tangier Campaign: the Birth of the British Army (2003).

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Allegiance and the Art of Survival: Colonel Henry Farr

In the late summer of 1642, as civil war in England became ever more likely, people at all social levels were forced to make hard choices. Few individuals were so committed to King or Parliament as to relish the prospect of fighting against their fellow countrymen. Areas supposedly dominated by parliamentarians or royalists all had inhabitants who harboured sympathies for the other side, and the allegiance of many others wavered according to their view of political events. Traditional county gentry, who had been conditioned to see themselves not simply as leaders but as nursing fathers of their communities, often became disaffected as the demands of the war effort ravaged their localities. Many of these county gentry were Presbyterians, the most socially conservative type of Puritan. Presbyterians mostly favoured Parliament in 1642, but as the war dragged on many found themselves torn between their religious convictions and fears of political or social instability. After 1644, alarmed by the growing influence of radicals within the parliamentarian alliance, more and more Presbyterians detached themselves from Parliament and adhered to Charles I. The rash of defections which occurred at the outset of the Second Civil War of 1648 threatened to bring down the parliamentarian cause altogether. In this blog, David Appleby surveys the career of one of these defectors: Colonel Henry Farr. As several documents in our Civil War Petitions database show, Farr played a leading role in the events of that momentous year. When Thomas Peatchey presented his petition to the Essex justices in 1678, he also submitted a certificate signed by several of his old commanders. Chief among these was ‘the Right Honourable Colonel Henry Farr’, in whose service Peachey had voluntarily enlisted in 1648. Farr and two other gentlemen confirmed that the Blackmore labourer had served in the royalist forces during the siege of Colchester. Colonel Farr affirmed that Peachey had been motivated by ‘his loyalty to our gracious sovereign lord King Charles the First of ever-blessed memory’. This effusive rhetoric was rather ironic given that Farr himself had begun his military career by taking up arms against the King. Henry Farr was born around 1597, the eldest son and namesake of Henry Farr, and his wife Prudence. The elder Henry, an esquire of Great Burstead, Essex, died in 1609. There are indications that the Farr children were made wards of court (as their father had been in his youth). It is clear from the elder Henry’s will that he intended that his children’s great uncle – another Henry Farr – and his cousin Thomas Harrison should act as their guardians. At some point over the succeeding years young Henry Farr came within the orbit of the powerful Rich family of Leez Priory, near Chelmsford. Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, succeeded to the earldom in 1619. Like his late father, Warwick had an impressive portfolio of business interests in America and the Caribbean, and his semi-piratical activities brought him such huge wealth and influence that he was nicknamed the ‘King of Essex’. The earl initially enjoyed good relations with Charles I and the King’s leading courtier, the Duke of Buckingham. In 1625, in the midst of a Spanish invasion scare, he was charged with organising the county’s defences. Warwick was energetic and efficient, but his puritanical zeal for Protestant reformation soon led him to oppose royal policy. Charles stripped the Earl of his county commission in 1627. Over the next decade Warwick became increasingly prominent in the political struggle against the Crown. In 1642, with the country on the brink of civil war, Parliament began to nominate its own Lord Lieutenants in English and Welsh counties, intending that they should replace the King’s official appointees. The Earl of Warwick was chosen to be Lord Lieutenant of Essex. He immediately appointed Henry Farr to assist him as a Deputy-Lieutenant. When Warwick began to assemble a second army to complement the main parliamentarian field army (commanded by his cousin the Earl of Essex), Farr, like hundreds of other Essex men, volunteered for military service. Being already a captain in the Essex Trained Bands, it is no surprise to find that he was appointed to command a foot company in Warwick’s embryonic army. Farr was prominent in preparing a loyal address to the Earl, in which he and his fellow officers declared that all well-affected gentlemen of Essex were ready to entrust ‘our Religion, our Lawes, and all into the hands of that great and most faithfull Councell the Parliament’. They were clearly not willing to trust King Charles, whom they noted had chosen to follow ‘other Counsels’. All was well until Warwick decided to replace the Essex officers with experienced professionals. Captain Henry Farr led the protests, alleging that the Earl had thereby alienated ‘the hearts of the Essex Souldiers, who came with willing minds to performe Noble service’, and suggesting that ‘the change of their Captaines hath also changed their affections.’ There is no doubt that the rank-and-file were demoralised by this decision, and Warwick had to tread carefully in order to avoid mass desertion. The Earl diplomatically assured Farr that although he had every confidence in the Essex officers’ courage and zeal, he still felt it would be better if they concentrated on the defence of their county, and handed their volunteers over to Flanders veterans demonstrably more experienced in the art of war. Despite this spat, it is clear that Warwick still trusted his protégé, for Farr was soon after gazetted Lieutenant-Colonel of the Earl’s own regiment in the Essex Trained Bands. In June 1643 he was appointed to sit on the county committee for raising money, as well as that charged with overseeing the sequestration of royalists’ estates. An incident in the late summer of 1643 provided further evidence that Farr’s attachment to his county community was stronger than his adherence to Parliament. The Earl of Essex’s field army had lost so many horses during its early campaigns that officers were sent into the provinces to requisition replacements. A Lieutenant Brazier arrived in Essex, and proceeded to raid the stables of well-affected Essex gentlemen as well as royalists. Farr, acting in his capacity as a Deputy-Lieutenant, intercepted Brazier as he was making his way back to the army, confiscated the officer’s commission, and returned the animals to their owners. Parliament could not afford to ignore such a direct challenge to its authority. The Earl of Warwick was directed to strip Farr of all his county offices, and deliver him into the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons. Farr still had powerful friends on the Essex county committee, who immediately began to lobby for his reinstatement. He also retained Warwick’s complete confidence, for by October 1643 when the three foot regiments of the Essex Trained Bands were mustered at Maldon, he was reinstated as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Earl’s regiment. For the next four years Henry Farr appears to have performed his duties diligently. However, like many conservative Presbyterians, he was rapidly losing whatever enthusiasm he had once had for the parliamentarian cause. Matters came to a head in 1648. There were many reasons for the outbreaks of civil disorder around the country over the winter of 1647. The more rigid Presbyterians believed that the parliamentarian cause was being hijacked by political and religious radicals, and they feared and distrusted the New Model Army. The wider public were aggrieved that heavy taxation had continued despite the cessation of hostilities, and resented the intrusive, autocratic, and often rapacious activities of the parliamentary county committees. Royalists managed to turn this discontent into armed insurrection in Wales and Kent, whilst the King enticed a section of the Scottish Covenanters to engage to invade England on his behalf. Parliament gave Oliver Cromwell half the New Model Army to repress Wales and meet the Scots, whilst Lord Thomas Fairfax took the other half into Kent to deal with the situation in that county. On 4 May 1648 Sir William Hicks and Farr’s subordinate, Major Stephen Smith led two thousand petitioners from Essex to present a mass petition to Parliament. Their petition outlined numerous grievances and urged parliamentarian leaders to resume their negotiations with the King. The petitioners left Westminster without incident, but back in Essex royalists and disgruntled Presbyterians were actively inciting the local population against Parliament. On 4 June, the Essex parliamentary county committee assembled in Chelmsford to consider what to do about the unrest. Henry Farr and Stephen Smith swiftly mustered the Earl of Warwick’s regiment, marched into the town, and seized the committee. Unfortunately for Farr, four committee members were absent. As soon as they received news of the coup in Chelmsford, Sir Thomas Honywood, Colonel Harlackenden, Colonel Cooke and Colonel Sparrow hurriedly assembled the two remaining Essex Trained Band regiments for Parliament. There was no going back for Henry Farr. Royalist veterans and disaffected civilians were now flocking to Chelmsford, foremost among them Sir Charles Lucas. Farr and Smith declared for the King, and placed themselves and their men under Lucas’s command. They were soon joined by the Earl of Norwich, who brought in around 500 Kentish royalist insurgents, these being all that was left of the force mauled by Tom Fairfax in battle at Maidstone. Now numbering around 5,000 men, the royalists moved north towards Colchester. They only intended to remain in the town long enough to recruit more men. However, the next morning, 13 June, they were astonished to find themselves trapped: Fairfax had gathered his forces and moved into northeast Essex with amazing rapidity. The royalists were faced not by Colonel Whalley’s cavalry brigade which had hitherto monitored their march, but by Fairfax’s full force of veteran New Model regiments, reinforced by the two regiments of the Essex Trained Bands which had remained loyal to Parliament. Farr and Smith placed their Trained Band regiment across the Lexden road to the west of the town, in an effort to delay the parliamentarian advance. The militiamen fought valiantly, but were eventually outflanked and overwhelmed. In the confusion Farr and Smith managed to lead some of their men to the safety of the town walls. Many others lay dead on the Lexden road, and 200 were taken prisoner, but they had at least given their new royalist comrades time to put the town into a defensive posture. After an unsuccessful attempt to storm the town, Fairfax settled down for a long siege. He soon received further reinforcements in the shape of 3,000 infantry from the Suffolk Trained Bands. Parliamentarian journalists had already singled out Farr for particular excoriation, branding him an apostate, and his men a ‘rabble of mutineers’. As a prominent turncoat, there was little doubt of what awaited the Colonel should he fall into parliamentarian hands. Colchester’s 10,000 inhabitants were almost entirely parliamentarian in their sympathies. They had even less cause to love the unwelcome royalist presence after three months of siege, starvation and disease. At the end of August news arrived that Cromwell had crushed the Scots Engager army at Preston. Lord Norwich and Charles Lucas now knew that continued resistance was futile. Fairfax had offered relatively generous surrender terms at the beginning of the siege, but had been rudely spurned. He was now only willing to allow the royalist garrison to surrender ‘at mercy’. This meant that he reserved the right to treat any prisoner as he saw fit. There were numerous breakouts as the defenders sensed the end was near. Finally, on 28 August the 3,391 royalist troops still remaining in the town were obliged to surrender their arms and gather at the east end of High Street. All senior royalist commanders were ordered to present themselves at the King’s Head tavern in Head Street. Farr attempted to escape, but was quickly recaptured and escorted to the King’s Head. Fairfax held a council of war, at which it was decided to make an immediate example of Sir Charles Lucas, Sir George Lisle, Sir Bernard Gascoigne and Colonel Farr. The remaining royalist commanders were to be taken to London for a formal trial. However, when Colonel Ewer arrived at the King’s Head to collect the four men selected for execution, he was unable to locate Henry Farr. The Colonel had staged his second escape of the day. Lucas and Lisle were shot by firing squad. Gascoigne (whose real name was Bernardino Guasconi) was reprieved after it was discovered that he was a subject of the Duke of Tuscany. Parliamentarian writers seem to have been somewhat confused as to Farr’s fate. Some thought that he was still being held in custody. One journalist informed his readers that Colonel Farr’s life had been spared in order that he might be coerced to bear witness against the Earl of Warwick. The ‘King of Essex’ had certainly been embarrassed by the fact that several of his closest associates – not least his brother the Earl of Holland, and his erstwhile protégé Henry Farr – had turned royalist. However, Warwick himself had played a vital role in Parliament’s victory in the Second Civil War of 1648, having used all his influence with the parliamentarian sea captains and ships’ crews to ensure that the bulk of the fleet remained loyal to Parliament. Unsurprisingly, Farr went into hiding. It is very likely that he fled into exile, along with many other royalist fugitives. He resurfaced in England just before the Restoration, engaging in a legal dispute over property in Buttsbury, near Chelmsford in Essex in 1659. In July 1660 he petitioned the restored House of Lords, requesting that the peers order his old adversary Sir Thomas Honywood and other ex-parliamentarians to pay him compensation for the financial losses he had suffered during the Civil Wars and Interregnum. One of the problems facing Charles II after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 was how best to reward and recompense his father’s old supporters. Henry Farr was made Deputy-Governor of Landguard Fort on the Suffolk coast. He was thereafter responsible for the day-to-day running of the fort, deputising for the titular Governor, Charles Rich, 4th Earl of Warwick. Rich had recently succeeded to the peerage following the death of his elder brother and their father – Farr’s old mentor; the Restoration threw up many such ironies. The Restoration authorities were notoriously reluctant to allocate sufficient funds to such establishments, and in 1662 Farr was forced to petition the Lord Treasurer for money to pay, feed, clothe and equip his neglected garrison, many of whom had been reduced to sleeping on bare boards. Despite Farr’s efforts, the men’s plight was not ameliorated until a further petition in 1663 elicited a payment from the new Hearth Tax. Growing tensions with the Dutch resulted in more ordnance being installed in the Fort. Farr was confirmed as Governor in December 1664 (his name is incorrectly transcribed as ‘Fane’ in the Calendar of State Papers). In April 1667 Governor Farr’s garrison was transferred to Yarmouth. He handed over Landguard Fort to another royalist veteran, Captain Nathaniel Darrell. It was therefore Darrell, not Farr, who successfully defended the Fort with two companies of the Lord High Admiral’s Regiment (later the Royal Marines) when the Dutch attempted to capture it that summer. Nevertheless, Farr deserves credit for ensuring that Darrell had inherited a fort which was in a good state of repair and properly supplied. Henry Farr was now well advanced in years. He had some independent means, but had clearly lost a great deal of money during the Civil Wars and Interregnum. Much of his remaining fortune had been devoted to alleviating the suffering of the wretched garrison at Landguard Fort. Like so many other needy royalist veterans he was now necessitated to petition for financial support. Documents in the State Papers bear testament to the old man’s tenacity, as well as his remarkably robust constitution: In October 1682 Farr wrote to Charles II to thank the King for granting him a place in the Charterhouse, ‘but fears never to live to enjoy it, so many others being to be preferred before him’. Farr reminded the King that he had a large family to look after: his latest wife had recently died giving birth to his twenty-fourth child (remember he was 85 years old by this time!). He begged ‘a few crumbs of mercy for the sake of his dear children’, and declared that he would not trouble the King with a description of ‘his services to the late King and himself, though great.' A year later, Charles Fox, paymaster general was ordered to provide a pension of 4s per day to ‘Col. Henry Farre in consideration of his long and constant loyalty, the imminent hazard of his life at Colchester in 1648 and the total ruin of a plentiful fortune, besides his great age, he being 85 years old.' In December 1684, the old Colonel was referred to the Lords of the Treasury, having petitioned to have ‘some further allowance besides the 4s per day now paid him, in consideration of his great losses and sufferings for his loyalty, he having lost to the value of £10,000 at Colchester and having 17 children.’ Henry Farr was still alive in July 1687, when he was listed in the Calendar of Treasury Books as receiving a pension of £73 per year. It is tempting to believe that he was the Henry Farr Esq of Brentwood, Essex whose will was proved 2 January 1688, but further research is needed to confirm this. Only two daughters are mentioned in this will – so if this is the same man, perhaps Henry Farr, the consummate survivor, survived them all. What of Henry Farr’s men? Apart from Thomas Peatchey, several other members of his ill-fated Essex Trained Band regiment are known to have petitioned the authorities after the Restoration. John Hoskins of South Hanningfield, John Skinner of Runwell, and Robert Hoskins of Chelmsford all received gratuities from the Essex Quarter Sessions in July 1661, as did a widow called Margaret Alsoppe, together with John Sweeteing, Thomas Sharpe and Henry Stokes. William Witham (aka Wytham), a blacksmith from Writtle, near Chelmsford, petitioned in 1674 and again in 1675. He had been a corporal in Stephen Smith’s company throughout the siege. He and all the other petitioners waxed lyrical about their unswerving loyalty to ‘Charles the First of blessed memory’. It would be interesting to know how they had explained themselves to their parliamentarian captors back in 1648. Parliamentarian journalists claimed that Farr had drawn ‘many an innocent man of the Trained band under the pretence to muster, not knowing they should ingage in matter of blood, he never discovering unto them what his intentions were of ingaging them in a Warre against the Parliament.’ Like Farr, it would seem that his men may also have tailored their narratives to suit the changing times. [I am very grateful to my brother Roger Appleby for additional research on Henry Farr’s father.] ADDENDUM: Since this blog was published, Dr Christopher Thompson has kindly contacted us with some interesting information regarding the relationship between Henry Farr and Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. Documents held in the British Library [BL Lansdowne 662] show that Walter Farr (who was either Henry’s grandfather or great-grandfather) was the receiver-general of Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez Priory (the great-grandfather of the 2nd Earl of Warwick). Following this lead, we have discovered that the Farrs’ manor of Great Burstead was originally in the possession of Sir Richard Rich, who alienated it to Walter Farr and his heirs. The longstanding ties between the two families provide further clues as to why the Earl of Warwick continued to support Henry Farr despite the latter’s difficulties with the parliamentarian authorities – at least, until Farr’s defection to the royalist cause in 1648 As regards Henry Farr’s escape from Colchester in 1648, Dr Thompson advises that that the reason parliamentarians could not find Farr in the King’s Head when they went to fetch him for execution was because he had found a good hiding place – namely, an oven! Further reading Robert Ashton, Counter-Revolution: The Second Civil War and its Origins 1646-8 (1994). Clive Holmes, ‘The affair of Colonel Long: relations between Parliament, the Lord General and the county of Essex in 1643’, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, 3rd series, vol. 2, no. 3 (1970), pp. 210-215. Andrew Hopper, Turncoats and Renegadoes: Changing Sides during the English Civil Wars (2012). Frank Hussey, Suffolk Invasion: the Dutch Attack on Landguard Fort, 1667 (1983). Brian Lyndon, ‘Essex and the King’s cause in 1648’, The Historical Journal, vol. 29, no. 1 (1986), pp. 17-29.

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Face to Face with a Maimed Soldier: Captain Richard Vaughan

As with so many historical figures who were not of the social elite, the maimed soldiers and widows whose petitions and certificates are to be found on the Civil War Petitions website are known to us only through written texts. We hear of their injuries, the wounds and scars they suffered, but we never see them. Unlike conflicts of the modern age such as the American Civil War or the First World War, there is no photographic record of the horrors of the British Civil Wars. The early modern equivalent of photography, portraiture, was confined largely to the upper gentry and town elites. There are some images of combatants injured in the Civil Wars, but these are leading generals such as John Byron, first baron Byron, a royalist colonel who received a deep wound on his cheek in a battle at Burford in 1643. This left a prominent scar which was captured in a fine oil painting produced shortly after by William Dobson. The humbler petitioners who sought relief and recompense, however, remain a faceless constituency. Except, as Lloyd Bowen reveals, not quite... Among the collections of the British Museum there lie several pencil studies of the ceremonies for the Order of the Garter on St George’s Day, 23 April, executed in the later 1660s by the Dutch court painter Sir Peter Lely. Among their number are the great and the good such as George Morley, bishop of Winchester and Bruno Ryves, dean of Windsor and Civil War pamphleteer. However, there are also figures identified as ‘poor knights of Windsor’, members of an old order which had its origins in the fourteenth century. Retired military officers, these men received a pension of a shilling a day from the Crown and accommodation at Windsor Castle. Only one of these ‘poor knights’ is identified: Captain Richard Vaughan, a man who petitioned the Restoration authorities and received a pension as reward for his military service.[1] Lely’s drawing renders Vaughan as a stooped man (although he is only in his forties) using a cane to help him walk. Clothed in the Poor Knights’ red cloak and wearing a skullcap, his eyes are closed as he feels forward with his right hand. Vaughan was blind. The man who gropes towards the chapel at Windsor originally hailed from Pant Glas, Ysbyty Ifan, in Caernarvonshire. His was a minor gentry family but Richard Vaughan’s location in their pedigree is not entirely certain. This suggests that he was a younger son and certainly someone without much of a presence in local society. The family seems to have produced committed royalists, however, and another of their number, Captain Henry Vaughan, perhaps Richard’s brother, died at the siege of Hopton Castle in Shropshire in February 1644. In his Restoration petition to the Caernarvonshire bench, Richard Vaughan described himself as having ‘for many yeares together served [the king] … very faithfully in the late unhappy wars’. Although the details of his war service are obscure, we know he served under Colonel Edward Gerard who fought at Newbury and Ludlow, as well as under his more famous brother Colonel Charles Gerard who was active in south Wales and the Marches. In one of his engagements, Vaughan ‘received a shot in the face whereby he is become blind and mayhemed’. Another record noted that he had not only lost his sight, but had also received ‘severall wounds and bruses in his late majesties service’; hence his using a walking stick despite only being in his early forties. Vaughan must have struggled during the long years of parliamentary ascendancy. He was readily identifiable in his local community by the disability which was testament of his loyalty to the executed king. In several Restoration documents he is referred to as ‘the blind Captain’, and one imagines such a label was a liability under republican regimes. In 1660 he referred to his ‘present deplorable condicon’, which speaks of the hardships he was forced to endure. Vaughan’s fortunes altered quickly at the Restoration, however, and as soon as was practicable, in late 1660, he petitioned the quarter sessions of Caernarvonshire and of Denbighshire for relief as a maimed soldier. In the latter county he was described as ‘of Llanrwst’ where, presumably he owned some property. In Caernarvonshire he was admitted to a pension as a lieutenant rather than a captain, which presumably was for reasons of economy rather than any reflection upon the nature of his service or the genuineness of his need. We do not know, however, what level of support he received. His petition to the Denbighshire magistrates does not appear to survive, but the bench quickly awarded him £10 per annum, making him by some distance the best remunerated pensioner in the county. This tells us that he was not a typical petitioner and not one of the lowly multitude who needed the maimed soldiers’ money simply to survive in an unforgiving world. Vaughan was a member of the lesser gentry and a royalist officer and, in a world built on rank and hierarchy, the more prominent received a larger stipend. However, the very act of petitioning for a form of poor relief suggests the degree to which Vaughan had been forced to turn away from his role as a gentleman and place himself on the mercy of the county authorities. In 1663 Vaughan’s name was included among the list of indigent officers who received some of the £60,000 raised by Charles II as a reward for his father’s loyal commanders. In July of that year, however, Vaughan also received another piece of charitable support: admission as one of the ‘poor knights’ of Windsor. Lely thus captured ‘the Blind Captain’ at one of his first St George’s Day ceremonies. It would not be his last. He remained at Windsor down to his death in 1700, a reminder of how young he was when serving under the Gerards, and of how Lely’s image captures Vaughan not just at the end of one life as an indigent royalist officer, but at the beginning of another as member of an exclusive circle of royal beneficiaries. However, during this time he continued to receive pension from north Wales. In January 1680 the Denbighshire bench ordered that his £10 per annum continue, despite the expiry of the 1662 act for the relief of maimed soldiers and widows the year before. This was because Vaughan’s pension had been granted in 1661 under the Elizabethan statute which provided for maimed servicemen, and was thus not subject to the ‘sunset clause’ which deprived some Restoration pensioners. A copper plaque to Vaughan was placed in a vaulted passage at the entrance to the Great Cloisters in St George’s Chapel alongside memorials to other poor knights. It recorded his death on 5 June 1700 at the age of eighty as well as the fact that he ‘behaved himselfe with great courage … in the civill warrs and therein lost his sight by a shott’. He had drawn on the charity not only of the Crown but also of his native country for nearly forty years. He wished to give something back to the community, however, and his will provided the substantial sum of £200 ‘to maintain for ever six poor aged men’ of Ysbyty Ifan. In 1709 a complex of almshouses for this purpose was built. Although these were demolished in 1885, a new range of almshouses were erected in their place to look after the indigent poor of the parish. A surprising amount can thus be gleaned about this obscure Civil War officer from the financial and petitionary material gathered together by the ‘Conflict, Welfare and Memory’ project, and placed online in the Civil War Petitions website. As with almost all of our subjects, this evidence is textual. Bringing this together with Lely’s image of the blind ex-serviceman moving tentatively forward on his cane, however, adds another level of pathos to the narrative of ‘the Blind Captain’, and helps put a human face to some of the sufferings endured in Britain’s Civil Wars. [1] I am very grateful to David Evans for drawing my attention to the Vaughan drawing.

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Katherine de Luke: Widow, Petitioner, and Royalist Agent

When we encounter women petitioners from the Civil Wars, they all-too often appear simply as victims of conflict. Narrations of loss and bereavement permeate their supplications, along with the harrowing impact that this had on their daily lives. However, during the course of these narrations, details sometimes emerge of these women's own wartime activities and contributions. In this week's blog, Stewart Beale, introduces us to Katherine de Luke and her own incredible service for the royalist cause. In September 1660 Katherine de Luke of the New Forest, Hampshire submitted a petition to Charles II at his royal court at Whitehall. Her husband, Philip, had served as an officer during the Civil Wars under Lord Ralph Hopton, where, according to Katherine, he ‘received such wounds… as shortened his days in misery’. She further claimed that her husband’s estate had been confiscated by parliament as a result of his loyalty to the royalist cause, and, in a second petition submitted to the Crown the following month, that her family had been ‘four times plundered by the enemy’. In a third and final petition presented in 1663, Katherine noted that her eldest son had been ‘sold away for his service… in Colonel Penruddocks design’. This referred to the abortive royalist uprising that took place in the south of England in 1655, after which many of the captured rebels were transported to Barbados, and twelve of the ringleaders, including Colonel John Penruddock, were executed for treason. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Katherine claimed that the events of the 1640s and 1650s had left her ‘reduced to great misery’. Katherine was one of more than seventy royalist war widows who petitioned Charles II for relief during the first decade of his reign (1660-70). The majority of these petitioners were officers’ widows, and their supplications – like those detailed above – offer a harrowing insight into the suffering and bereavement caused by the civil wars. However, whilst most female war victims were likely to describe the military services of their husbands – including details of where they had served and who they had served under – Katherine’s petitions are somewhat unusual in that they detail her own wartime activism. She claimed to have served Charles I in ‘carrying [his] commissions’, and to have carried ‘letters and private intelligence… when none else durst adventure to do it’. Imprisoned by parliament for her actions, Katherine maintained that she had never wavered in her loyalty, even when subjected to torture. Incarcerated in Bridewell, she claimed to have been ‘whipped every other day, & also burnt with light matches… & cruelly tormented to make her betray her trust’. Katherine appears to have served as an intelligencer, carrying private correspondence and military intelligence on behalf of the royalist cause. Nadine Akkerman has shown that both sides during the Civil Wars employed female spies and couriers, believing that their opponents were less likely to suspect women of performing such roles. Interestingly, two of the most well-known female Civil War intelligencers were war widows. Elizabeth Alkin, also known as ‘Parliament Joan’, served as a parliamentarian spy after her husband was hanged by the royalists during the early 1640s for espionage. On the royalist side, Katherine Stuart, Lady Aubigny, was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1643 after her involvement in a plot to raise troops for Charles I was discovered. She had travelled to London from the royal court at Oxford under the pretence of settling the affairs of her late husband, Lord George Stuart, who had been slain at Edgehill in 1642, and was caught carrying a commission of array signed by the king. Another royalist widow, Elizabeth Cary, claimed in her petition to Charles II in 1660 that she had carried ‘proclamations and declarations from Oxford to London’ during the 1640s. Along with her petitions, Katherine de Luke submitted several certificates to the Crown in support of her case. These suggest that her services were well known among leading royalists, and provide further insight into her actions during the 1640s. The first certificate, presented along with her 1663 petition, confirmed that Katherine had 'been a great sufferer for her loyalty and service'. The document was signed by eight men, including John Ashburnham, former treasurer of the royalist army during the First Civil War. A second certificate signed by the Secretary of State Sir Edward Nicholas asserted that Katherine 'deserves a very good reward for her service', whilst a third noted that Katherine had been employed by Lord Hopton during the 1640s ‘for intelligence’. Katherine’s petitions and other surviving evidence allow us to piece together her whereabouts during the 1640s. One of her certificates noted that Katherine had been present at Oxford during the First Civil War. In her 1663 petition, meanwhile, she cited her ‘service done… at Bristol’. Perhaps she had carried correspondence between the two cities. More remarkable, Katherine appears to have attended Charles I during his imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight in 1647-8. In 1660, the Convention Parliament appointed a committee to examine the death of Captain John Burley, who had been executed at Winchester in 1648 after attempting to rescue Charles I from prison. Burley’s wife, Elizabeth, sought to take advantage of the Restoration by ensuring that the judges and jurors who had passed sentence against her former husband were excluded from the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion. One of the witnesses to appear before the committee was Katherine de Luke, who claimed to have been ‘in the King’s chamber’ at the time of Burley’s rescue attempt. Despite being subjected to tight surveillance during his incarceration at Carisbrooke, Charles continued to smuggle letters into and out of the castle, and, given the claims made in her petitions, Katherine may well have played a role in this. Given her suffering and services, it is perhaps unsurprising that Charles II responded favourably to Katherine’s petitions. In 1660 she was issued a royal warrant entitling her to all of the ‘roots and stumps of wood and trees remaining in the earth in the New Forest to a height of under three feet’. Firewood was an important commodity during the seventeenth century, and the warrant granted Katherine an abundant supply both for her own use and to sell. However, that she felt obliged to petition the Crown again in 1663 suggests that the warrant was never enacted, or was insufficient to maintain her. The outcome of her latter petition remains unknown. Historians have long recognised the important roles women played during the Civil Wars. They donated money and plate to the armies, nursed wounded soldiers, helped to fortify garrisons, defended properties, and, as we have seen, served as couriers and spies. The petitions for relief submitted by female war victims are often utilised by historians to demonstrate the hardships inflicted on those who were forced to live through the bloodiest wars in British history. Yet, as the example of Katherine de Luke demonstrates, these documents can also be used to further our understanding of the various roles women played during the conflict, and to demonstrate how previously unknown women made important contributions to the war efforts of both sides.

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Echoes of a Massacre: The Petition of Bridget Rumney

The massacre of the royalist camp-followers in Farndon Field following the battle of Naseby was one of the most notorious incidents in the English Civil Wars and a subject of intense debate since. At the heart of this debate lies an uncertainty as to the identity of the unfortunate victims. However, in this week's blog, Mark Stoyle reveals the identity of one family group present on that fateful day. This discovery has been made possible by a petition addressed to Charles II in May 1660, the contents of which remind us that women and children could be as much at risk from the dangers of war as the combatants who fought in the conflict. On 14 June 1645, parliament’s New Model Army, under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, Oliver Cromwell and Philip Skippon, utterly defeated Charles I’s main field army at the battle of Naseby. As every history of the Civil War attests, it was a decisive engagement: one which resulted in the destruction of the king’s veteran infantry force, the flight of his cavalry and the capture of his baggage-train, together with all of his personal correspondence. What is too often forgotten is that the battle of Naseby also resulted in perhaps the single worst atrocity of the Civil War in England, for, as the victorious Parliamentarian soldiers pursued their beaten enemies from the field, they fell upon the king’s female camp-followers, who, having seen that the day was lost, had set off in headlong flight towards the royalist garrison at Leicester. According to a later account, the parliamentarian troopers caught up with the terrified fugitives ‘in the south part of Farndon-field, within the gate place in the road between Naseby and Farndon’. Here a dreadful slaughter ensued, as the soldiers set about the Royalist women with their swords, killing at least a hundred of them, and savagely mutilating many more. In the aftermath of the battle, parliamentarian pamphleteers in London made no apology for what their soldiers had done, but rather triumphed in their murderous actions: some claiming that the killed and injured women had been ‘whores’, others that they had been Irish women, ‘wives of the bloody rebells in Ireland’, who had - according to earlier, exaggerated, accounts - slain thousands of Protestant men and women during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The reports which appeared in the London press in the immediate aftermath of the battle are the chief surviving sources for the acts of butchery which were perpetrated in Farndon Field  and, as a result, it is through the lens of these - highly partisan - reports that the victims of the massacre have tended to be viewed ever since. That many of the parliamentarian soldiers who took part in the attack genuinely believed the women who accompanied the royalist army to be a horde of sexually immoral ‘courtesans’, interspersed with companies of knife-wielding ‘Irish-sluts’ and even the occasional ‘witch’, is easy to credit; this was, after all, what their own propagandists in London had been affirming in print almost from the moment that the conflict began. Yet, clearly, we cannot assume that such tendentious reports painted a wholly accurate picture of the women who marched in the king’s train - while the fact that one of the few royalist sources to allude to the massacre describes those who were killed as ‘women and soldiers’ wives’ strongly suggests that, while some of the luckless individuals who were cut down by the Parliamentarian troopers may, indeed, have been ‘common women’, or prostitutes, many entirely ‘respectable’ women were slaughtered as well. Little evidence has survived about the individual women who suffered at Naseby, though we do catch just an occasional glimpse of them in the historical record.  On 1 July 1645, for example, the parish clerk of Kidderminster, near Worcester, recorded the burial of ‘a woman … wounded at the battle in Leicestershire’. Almost certainly, this was one of the king’s camp-followers who had been injured at Naseby, but who had nevertheless managed to escape from the battlefield and to flee towards the West alongside the rest of the broken royalist forces, only to die - whether of her wounds, of illness, or of simple exhaustion - a fortnight later.  Yet, poignant as this brief record is, it tells us next to nothing about the flesh-and-blood woman for whom it now stands as the sole surviving epitaph. Altogether more revealing is a document preserved among the State Papers, which permits us to rescue one of the women who perished at Naseby from the anonymity which has cloaked the victims of the massacre hitherto - and, in the process, to subvert the London pamphleteers’ representation of them as a mere ‘rabble’ of violent and licentious individuals. In May 1660 a certain Bridget Rumney submitted a petition to the newly-restored King Charles II in which she begged that she herself might be ‘restowred’ to the position at Court which she had enjoyed during the reign of his father. Rumney began by explaining that she and her mother, Elizabeth Burgess, had long been members of the royal household, and, more specifically that they had ‘bin servants to your Gracious Majesty’s late Grandfather [i.e. James I and VI] and father [i.e. Charles I] … in the Office for providing of flowers and sweete herbes for the Court’.  In proof of her claim that she had been appointed to this office - the chief duty of which was to strew sweet-smelling flowers and herbs around the royal lodgings - in succession to her mother, Rumney enclosed a certificate signed by one Peter Newton, a former household servant to Charles I. ‘These are to certifie’, Newton’s note ran: ‘that by virtue of a warrant to mee directed, from the kings … majesty, I have sworn the bearer hereof, Bridget Rumney, garnisher and trimmer of the [royal] Chapple, Presence and Privy Lodgings, in the roome of Elizabeth Burgess hir mother, deceased, to hould and enjoy the same with all fees and profits thereto belonging’. The fact that this certificate is dated 11 September 1647 makes it clear that Rumney had succeeded to her mother’s position at a time when Charles I had been living in distinctly reduced circumstances following his defeat in the Civil War: at his palace of Hampton Court, certainly, but by now in the custody of the victorious New Model Army. Within a year and a half of Rumney’s having been sworn in, the king had met his death upon the scaffold at Whitehall, so Bridget can have had little time to enjoy her new position. This misfortune was by no means the worst that Rumney had had to suffer in her life, however, for, as her post-war petition makes clear, she had only succeeded to her mother’s office in the first place as the result of a family tragedy. For ‘soe yt is’, she sorrowfully informed Charles II in 1660, ‘that your petitioner’s poor mother and two of your petitioner’s sons were slayne at Nazebie’. Rumney’s testimony is fascinating: first, because it permits us to identify Elizabeth Burgess as having been, almost certainly, one of the victims of the Naseby massacre, and second because it allows us to see that - far from having been one of ‘the harlots with golden tresses’ of the London pamphleteers’ fevered imaginations - this particular victim of the Parliamentarian soldiers’ rage had in fact been a domestic servant of relatively advanced years, whose chief occupation before the outbreak of the conflict had been the scattering of flowers and herbs around the royal court. Rumney’s bleak, matter-of-fact statement about the death of her mother and her two sons raises all sorts of unanswerable questions. What had Burgess been doing in the king’s train during the fateful summer of 1645, for example? Had she been continuing to carry out her pre-war duties at the peripatetic court which sprang up in the field wherever Charles I halted as he marched across the countryside on campaign? Or had she had been acting in some other domestic role in the royalist baggage-train, after having gravitated to the king’s army as a place of continued employment and refuge following Charles I’s enforced departure from his palace at Whitehall in 1642?  Was Bridget Rumney with her mother on the day that the latter was killed? And what of Rumney’s two sons? Had they been young men serving in the Cavalier army? Or had they been mere boys, fleeing alongside their grandmother - and their mother, too, perhaps - as the troopers bore down on the terrified throng of civilians streaming along the road from Naseby to Farndon? We cannot know - although the fact that Rumney stated in her later petition that she had been left with ‘six smale children’ after her mother’s death hardly suggests that her two ‘slayne’ sons can have been very old. It is pleasant to be able to record that Rumney’s plea that her old office should be restored to her was granted by Charles II - and that she continued to serve as his official ‘Herb-woman’ throughout the 1660s, receiving the handsome salary of £24 per annum for her pains. The relief of securing a permanent post at court again, together with all of the financial and social benefits it brought, must surely have done something to assuage Rumney’s pain over the triple bereavement which she had suffered during the Civil War. It is hard to believe that she can ever have forgotten that conflict, though - or the terrible fate which had befallen her sons, her mother and so many other non-combatant women in the wake of what one contemporary writer aptly termed ‘the battle of Dreadful Down’.   Suggestions for further reading: Glenn Foard, Naseby: The Decisive Campaign (Whitstable, 1995). Ann Hughes, Gender and the English Revolution (Abingdon, 2012). Mark Stoyle, ‘The Road to Farndon Field: Explaining the Massacre of the Royalist Women at Naseby’, The English Historical Review, volume 123 (August 2008), pp. 895-923.

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Prisoners of war: the lowest priority

The plight and place in diplomatic relations of prisoners of war during the Civil Wars was discussed in a previous blog but how did the situation differ for the prisoners of war originating from foreign powers? During the Interregnum and Restoration periods at the heart of the chronological era under study by Civil War Petitions, Britain fought three wars against the Dutch Republic. These resulted in the capture of numerous sailors by both sides, who were then held as prisoners of war. We are delighted to welcome Gijs Rommelse, who in this guest blog reveals the concerns raised about the welfare of Dutch sailors incarcerated in England and the discrepancy between theory and reality in the treatment of foreign prisoners of war in England. In 1656, Arnoldus Montanus, a preacher of the Dutch Reformed Church, published in Amsterdam a pamphlet entitled The troubled ocean, or the two-year sea exploits of the united Dutch and the English. Montanus, who at Leiden had studied philosophy and theology, wrote copiously on these and also historical and geographical subjects, and was a fanatical supporter of the House of Orange. In his account of the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654), he wrote of Dutch prisoners of war, who in 1653 were incarcerated in Ipswich and Chelsea, and the appalling treatment to which they were subjected. ‘Those that death spared resembled skeletons rather than men … Some, from deprivation, lost their reason. In Chelsea they lay, under the open sky, within a walled enclosure with guards set round it. Those who, from despair, chose by escaping to risk an uncertain death, rather than a worse captivity, were often recaptured, shot, put to the sword, or at least to the torture.’ Montanus showed himself deeply troubled at the treatment received by the Dutch seamen in England, although his purple prose may also have served to increase the evocative power of his pamphlet. The question naturally arises as to the veracity of his account. He was certainly not the only Dutch writer to describe the captivity of prisoners of war in England as hellish. In 1667, an author, who preserved his anonymity by employing the initials EVL, published a pamphlet entitled The cautious Hollander. Shown in a dialogue between a politician, a merchant, a sea-captain. All three upright Hollanders. An Englishman, resident in Holland. He proposed that ‘Worse even than sudden death by water, fire, the sword or other deadly weapon is the frightful expiration from hunger, thirst, cold or other privation, to which one would not subject a dog. Nevertheless, in England our Dutch captives have met their deaths by all these cruel means, so that in places every tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh; yea, even every fourth or third man died or, more accurately, was driven to his death. This conduct is in flagrant contravention of the Rights of all Peoples and would not be possible without such violation.’ It is natural to question whether accounts such as the above reflect the bias of Dutch authors who, while they may well have believed in their own narratives, were prepared to pander to the strongly anti-British feelings of their intended reading public. This would be plausible, were it not for the fact that similar reports are to be found in English sources also. Andrew Marvell who, in his Character of Holland of 1672 had certainly shown himself no friend of the Dutch, wrote in 1677 that ‘Sir William Doyley got 7000 £. out of the Dutch prisoners’ allowance, and starved many of them to death.’ If Marvell, whose career was founded largely on biting criticism of others, may not have been the most reliable source, the same could certainly not be said of John Evelyn, the celebrated diarist who, like Doyley, was one the Commissioners for the Sick, Wounded and Prisoners. He wrote many letters to King Charles II and to various Privy Councilors with appeals for funds for the maintenance of the Dutch captives, who were accommodated at various locations. He pleaded the impossibility of the task of housing and feeding them in a humane manner. Their numbers were too great and they arrived, following the great sea battles, in unmanageable waves. So dire was their situation, he wrote, that they were held in the open air, without straw to lie on or sufficient food. Some had already died and others would soon follow if no funds could rapidly be made available. These representations he not only addressed to his superiors but also confided to his diary. There was, in the seventeenth century, as yet no legal code of practice concerning the treatment of prisoners of war. Usually, after some time had elapsed, the combatants would reach some ad hoc arrangement concerning the exchange of captives. It was not that no legal code of war existed; as noted above, for ‘EVL’ the English authorities were obliged to respect the Rights of all Peoples which, in principle, they observed: the Commonwealth, Protectorate and Restoration regimes had all felt themselves obliged to treat the Dutch prisoners humanely. They were, after all, fellow Christians fulfilling their obligation to serve their sovereign state. The unwritten convention obliged them to clothe, feed, house and care for their captives, who were not to be exposed to violent treatment. They were not to be denied the prospect of future freedom, either through a general exchange or the opportunity to purchase their release. The basis for this semi-official law of war was formed by Christian values and common humanity but also by calculated self-interest. The Dutch cities housed large numbers of English prisoners; reports of ill-treatment of Dutch captives in English hands could result in a cycle of reprisals (see photo above for an example of this). Since the English authorities apparently acknowledged their obligation under the informal rules of war to ensure that their Dutch captives were humanely treated, at the same time making reciprocal demands on the Republic regarding English captives held there, the question naturally arises why so many Dutch prisoners perished through starvation, disease and exhaustion? The answer lies in the simple fact that the needs of foreign prisoners occupied the lowest position on their captors’ list of priorities. Lack of money made it difficult for the English authorities always to maintain the navy’s ships in operational condition; failure to do so made it necessary to lay up the battle fleet in 1667, thereby making possible the Dutch Raid on the Medway. Since there was regularly insufficient money to pay the country’s own seamen, who were forced to accept promissory notes in the form of ‘tickets’, it is not surprising that for the Dutch prisoners there remained almost nothing for their needs. Since the English state finances proved incapable of meeting the challenges of intensive war making, relief attempts were made by Dutch diplomats, by Evelyn from his own pocket and by other English benefactors, but these could provide no more than a slight amelioration of the prisoners’ condition. Dr. Gijs Rommelse is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester's School of History, Politics and International Relations. He teaches history and social sciences at the Haarlemmermeer Lyceum in Hoofddorp (The Netherlands) and is head of the school's History Department. Gijs gained his PhD from the University of Leiden with a dissertation titled 'The Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667)'. His research interests include Anglo-Dutch relations, early modern political and military cultures, privateering, prisoners of war and political economy. He has published widely on these subjects, his most recent work being (together with David Onnekink) The Dutch in the early modern world: A History of a Global Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

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